The dire financial state of regional airline SA Express has been laid bare in Parliament.
The airline is technically bankrupt and it’s affecting its ability to keep aircraft in the sky and pay for much-needed repairs. It’s experienced a spate of technical hiccups recently, including one mid-flight on Friday.
SA Express says without a financial injection from government, it can’t continue operating.
Over the past year, SA Express has lost 10% of its staff, double the industry norm, about 40 were pilots or technicians. Of the 20 aircraft at its disposal, seven are grounded and two beyond repair.
The airline has still not submitted its financial statements to Parliament for 2016/17 because it can’t meet requirements for a going concern.
Acting chief financial officer Mpho Selepe says the airline is no longer sustainable.
“Things are just going pear-shaped. The liabilities grow, but the revenue is dwindling.”
Committee chairperson Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe says Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan will only take a decision on a bailout once he’s received financial statements from the Auditor General.